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Cuts, corpora, and commentaries from I AM ERROR. Good writing means making sacrifices, and editing is among the hardest tasks that a writer will face. During the nearly four-year process of pitching, researching, drafting, editing, revising, and finally publishing my first book, I AM ERROR, I wrote over 160,000 words and ...

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I AM EXTRA: Manic Compression

How Donkey Kong's programmers used compression to save ROM space. The following section is one of I AM ERROR’s oldest—it appeared in the initial drafts of chapter 2 (which I wrote first) in early 2012. It also remained intact until quite late in the manuscript process—at least until mid-2014—lodged between the ...

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I AM EXTRA: The Super C Helicopter Boss

How Konami's developers used the MMC3 scanline counter to create large moving enemies. The following section was originally intended to directly follow the Mega Man 2 Mecha Dragon discussion in the 'Big Boss' section of chapter 6. According to my notes, I began dissecting the Super C Area 1 boss fight ...

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Bravely Default’s Temporal Strata

Videogame time is weird. Though all manner of clocks and timers, whether computational or diegetic, drive play, time rarely operates in games as it does in real life. Even games that pride themselves on 'realistic' day/night cycles—games as varied as Assassin's Creed, Minecraft, and Forza Horizon—tend to compress these cycles ...

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Stencyl Tutorial Series: Blockade (Part I)

For our introductory tutorial, we will use Stencyl to replicate the 1976 arcade game Blockade. Blockade is an early precursor to Snake and its ilk, minus the touch-an-item-to-grow mechanic. Each player controls a growing wall, or blockade, steering its leading edge around the screen in an attempt to avoid colliding ...

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